Depression: 4 Things That the Chinese Medicine Practitioner Wants to Share With You

No.1 Triggers, Symptoms, TCM’s understanding

● Common Triggers
1. Bereavement: eg. losing loved ones, break-up
2. Key life events: eg. job promotion, getting married, pregnancy, divorce
3. Rejection: eg. enrollment exams, appling jobs, social rejection
4. Stress: inducing hormonal changes
5. Insomnia: early wake up
6. Health condition: illnesses, medication triggers depression
7. Finances: debuts issue, loan
8. Substance use: eg. alcohol
9. Thinking pattern: eg. rumination

● Symptoms

Psychological Somatic Social
-Prolonged low mood -Sleep problems -Avoid to contact friends and join social events
-Hopeless and helpless -Fatigue -Away from the hobbies
-Losing motivation and interests -Unexplained pain -difficulties in daily life (eg. home, work, school)
-Tearful without specific reasons -Changes in weight  
-No expectation or passion of life -Lack of libido  
-Decreased self-esteem -Constipation  
-Suicidal ideation -Reduced speech rate  

● TCM’s understanding
When explaining the mechanism of depression, it involves all of the five major organs
in TCM: liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidney. Given the complicated causes of
depression, it may develop a variety of syndromes as shown in the figure below. The
most common syndrome is Liver qi stagnation, because the liver is the first organ
which responds to the depressive mood. However with the prolonged term of
depression, it will further influence the energy flow in other organs, forming the rest of
syndromes. As depression itself keeps draining the energy, it will be more frequent to
notice the deficiency-related symptoms in long-term or recurrent depression.

No.2 TCM approach to help reducing depression
● Therapeutic principles for the 7 syndromes

Liver Qi Stagnation Soothe the liver and regulate qi
Heart & Liver Depression Soothe the liver, clear the heat in the heart
Heart & Liver Blood deficiency Tonify the blood, nourish the liver and calm the nerves
Heart-Spleen Deficiency Tonify Qi and the spleen, nourish the heart and calming the nerves
Phlegm-Qi Stagnation Disperses phlegm and promotes qi, soothes the mind
Lung Qi Deficiency Tonify qi and the lungs, promoting lung’s qi  
Spleen-Kidney Deficiency Tonify the spleen and kidney, strengthen the brain  

● Effective TCM treatments

-Acupuncture: making use of meridians to remove the stagnation in the qi flow
-Cupping Gua Sha: releasing the pathogen that increasing depression eg.
phlegm, qi stagnation, heat; creating more space in the body
-Herbal medicine: balance the qi and blood, tonify the deficiency in the heart,
liver, spleen and kidney
-Moxibustion: strengthen the Yang energy and guide the heat back to its
origin
-Ear seeds: generating stimulus to adjust the nervous system

No.3 Useful acupressure points to cheer up

  Location Functions
Taichong (LR3) In between the 1st and 2nd toe, 2 fingers above -Spreads liver qi -Discharge damp heat -Nourishes Liver blood and yin
Danzhong (CV17) midpoint between the nipples (level with the 4th intercostal space) -Regulates qi and suppresses rebellious qi -Expand chest and relaxes diaphragm

● How to press?
1. Choose one side (left/right) each time
2. Use the thumb to apply pressure
3. Deep and firm pressure
4. Cooperate with deep breath: inhale press, exhale release
5. 1-3 minutes for each acupoint

No.4 Herbal tea and soup recipe to remove stagnation and create more space in the body

● Herbal tea (for 500ml)

Ingredients Rose buds 10g, chamomile 10g, peppermint 5g, tangerine peel 5g
How to make 1. Put all ingredients into a teakettle 2. Add in 500ml drinking water 3. Boil for 3 minutes then turn down the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes 4. May add a teaspoon of honey for the taste
Frequency 1-3 times a week, drink it 3 hours before bedtime

● Soup (for 1L)

Ingredients 1 gasshang melon, 1-2 carrots, 10 water chestnut, 500g lean pork
How to make 1. Wash the pork, bring to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat. Drain, rinse the pork and cut into pieces 2. soak and wash the rest of the ingredients, add 9 bowls of water, boil over high heat, turn and simmer for 45 minutes 3. add salt to adjust the taste
Frequency once a week

Frequency once a week
***Caution: all of the recipes may not be suitable for everyone, please consult a TCM practitioner before you apply it by yourself.

 

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